[SOLVED] Extremely slow hard disk read and write.

activegalaxys

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Nov 25, 2017
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I went to install Windows on one of my old OptiPlexes. This one still uses IDE, so I knew it'd be slow. However, it takes half an hour to format the drive, and then another half an hour to copy files. The Windows pre-install environment took about five minutes to actually get past the boot screen.

Even for IDE, I knew this was extremely slow, and my first thought was 'is this hard disk bad?'. So, in goes another. Same thing. Another goes in. Same thing.

It can't be the disks, as I've now gone through all the IDE hard drives that are in my possession. Is there any other point of failure that I'm not aware of?
 

activegalaxys

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The system model is an OptiPlex 170L desktop computer, and it was manufactured in 2005.

The drives are all 7200 rotations-per-minute. The IDE channel was way faster before this. I'm going to guess that the HDD controller has decided to drop off the deep end. Really. I know IDE maxes out at 133 Mbps, and SATA is at 6 Gbps currently.

I'm honestly considering the possibility that it'll require a motherboard swap very soon. I hooked up a SATA drive to the system, and it's not any better. So, the IDE and SATA controllers are combined. Yes, a system from 2005 has a SATA port on the board. The PSU even has a breakout to convert Molex to SATA.

Thank god the motherboards for the 170L are cheap.
 

activegalaxys

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What country are you in? I don't know about other countries, but Dell's UK website provides Windows XP & 2000 drivers. This thing has a Celeron D in it with a single core running at 2.4GHz, so even Windows Vista would probably make it shoot six foot flames out the back. Windows 10, well... I don't want to touch it, really.

Windows 2000, the version that I'm installing, reports no problems with all three disks. Windows is not even starting up into the pre-installation GUI properly, as the disk cannot keep up for some reason. I'm leaning towards a controller problem currently. Maybe I'll find a PCI IDE controller that can be used, and I'll plug in the DVD drive and HDD into that. If not, well, I'll just swap the motherboard. They're £10-£15 on eBay, so it'll be easier to do that.

This old machine is all I've got for running 64-bit incompatible applications. I don't particularly want to have to throw it away.
 

activegalaxys

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Hmm. Well, Dell's website keeps redirecting me from the canadian version to the UK version, so I can't confirm that. The disk that is in it right now is connected via SATA (the speeds for formatting increased a bit - the disk I put in there was 80 GB but the others, which were IDE, were 120GB and it's original was 80), but the original IDE hard disk's jumper was in Cable Select, as the ODD and HDD are on different IDE channels. As far as I know, both IDE channels aren't working at their usual speed.
The controller can't be fixed, as it's located in a special chip known as the Northbridge or Southbridge.

The disk passed Dell's onboard IDE diagnostics, so HDDs are ruled out.
I'm probably going to buy another motherboard.

Thanks for your help, by the way. I'm not the best at computers whatsoever.
 

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